new york state

New York State

A federal audit says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration mismanaged $22 million spent to promote tourism in areas affected by three damaging storms.

The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn't just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history.

The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

The new book: Heaven's Ditch by Historian Jack Kelly illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this "psychic highway" from its opening in 1825 through 1844. 

Jack Kelly will be at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck July 14, at the Schenectady Canal Festival at Mabee Farm Historic Site July 16, and at Northshire Books in Saratoga July 17. 

Calita Kabir/Flickr

Tax officials in New York state say they have stopped nearly 240,000 false tax refunds worth $400 million this tax season.

  In the late 1970s, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon were heading toward extinction, victims of the combined threats of DDT, habitat loss, and lax regulation. Flight Paths tells the story of how a small group of New York biologists raced against nature’s clock to bring these two beloved birds back from the brink in record-setting numbers.

McGrath documents both rescue projects in never-before-published detail. At Cornell University, a team of scientists worked to crack the problem of how to breed peregrine falcons in captivity and then restore them to the wild. Meanwhile, two young, untested biologists tackled the overwhelming assignment of rebuilding the bald eagle population from the state’s last nesting pair, one of whom (the female) was sterile.

Darryl McGrath is a journalist who has written about upstate New York’s environment and rural regions for over twenty years.

  This morning we begin a new bi-weekly series entitled Falling into Place. This series will spotlight the important work of -and foster collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This week, we’ll learn about Hixny. Hixny empowers modern healthcare by improving the way in which the healthcare community and patients access, analyze and collaboratively act upon patient-specific information. Hixny is a not-for-profit based in Albany, NY, is a recognized national leader in population health management support. Hixny supports care coordination of more than 1.6 million patients in the Capital District, Northern New York and the Mohawk Valley.

Scott Momrow, Vice President of Hixny joins us now to tell us more about the organization and their patient portal.

  A big part of politics is constituent service.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock he gets around.

Argyle Brewing

Mar 25, 2016

  In all of New York State there are only 9-towns that are completely dry. No alcohol. New York specifically allows cities and counties to exercise a local option by public referendum whether to go dry. One of those towns is Argyle, in Washington County, NY. In Argyle, the measure has come up for a vote for decades – only to be defeated by voters.

So, what are brewers to do? Well, in the case of the Argyle Brewing Company – unable to open in their own town – they opened in neighboring Greenwich – with the slogan: Dry Town – Wet Basements.

The Argyle Brewing Company is a NYS Farm Brewery and has is quickly becoming the place to meet in town after opening in early 2014. The brewery operates under a New York Farm Brewery license, meaning a certain amount of our ingredients come from right here in New York.

The brewer trio joins us this morning: Matt Stewart, Chris Castrio and Rich Thomas.

Blair Horner: The Governor Unveils His Reform Agenda

Jan 18, 2016

The staggering scandals and collapsing public confidence in state government created an opening for Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address.  Could he advance a comprehensive reform package that was commensurate with the unprecedented ethics, campaign finance and elections failings of the state?  His address was comprehensive:  The governor’s proposals – if enacted – offer significant remedies to those failings as well as to help restore the battered public confidence in Albany.

MASSENA, N.Y. (AP) — Alcoa has backed off a plan to close its smelting operations in northern New York after the state agreed to a series of incentives.

  The history of the Catskills is pivotal in the history of our country that is described in great detail in Stephen Silverman’s, The Catskills: Its History and How It Changed America.

Silverman’s book brings to life the beauty, vastness and turning points of the Catskills history, sharing stimulating stories of the region’s influential entrepreneurs, artists, gangsters, politicians, musicians and outcasts.

Vital to the development of America, the Catskills region was the birthplace of New York’s own Declaration of Independence, a central location for America’s industrial revolution, a rising resort town with hundreds of hotels and an artistic muse for the 19th century Hudson River School of Art and 20th century entertainers like Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Joan Rivers.

  Each region of the country has its own distinctive history and culture that set it apart from others. The Capital Region of New York—consisting of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Saratoga Counties— is no different.

Last month, The Albany Institute of History and Art opened an exhibition celebrating the heritage of this area. The Capital Region in 50 Objects will be on view through April 3rd.

The exhibition was planned in partnership with the Times Union and was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional funding was provided by the New York Council for the Humanities and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The Albany Institute of History and Art is just down the road from our studio in Albany. I went there to talk about the exhibition with Chief Curator Doug McCombs and Curator Diane Shewchuk.


Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting and they are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for a more detailed  explanation.

The New York State Association of Counties, dismayed over a report by the state comptroller that sales tax collections have slowed to half of what they were last year, are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for more information, says the group’s Steven Aquario.

“Are we seeing a trend here?” Aquario says the counties are asking the tax officials.

Counties across New York are concerned over reports that sales tax collections are plummeting and they are asking Governor Cuomo’s tax department for an explanation.

  Another New York legislative leader has been arrested on corruption charges.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that his fellow Republican Dean Skelos should no longer be the Senate leader.

This was recorded before Skelos stepped down on Monday 5/11.

Experts agree that America’s infrastructure is in bad shape.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that mustering the political will to make improvements is a challenge.

The framework agreement with Iran: historic diplomacy or grave mistake?

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that Congress is taking a close look.

Democrats took it on the chin in the midterm elections, but are hopeful about their 2016 chances.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the Empire State could play a major role in our national politics.

4/1/15 Panel

Apr 1, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and WAMC newsman, Ray Graf.

Scheduled topics include: Bills on ‘Religious Freedom’ in Arkansas and Indiana; Lufthansa knew of Andreas Lubitz's ‘severe depression;' Nuclear talks with Iran; New Ethics Disclosure Rules for New York Legislators; Trevor Noah Backlash.

Last week, Governor Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Heastie announced an agreement to strengthen New York’s ethics laws.  At that time, the governor touted the agreement as extraordinary, the “most stringent ethical policy in the United States of America.”

Blair Horner: Examining Lawmakers’ Outside Income

Jan 5, 2015

Like the rest of the nation, New York State allows its legislators to have outside jobs – they are considered part-time.  Laws are in place to ensure that such outside income does not create a conflict-of-interest for the lawmakers – laws require a combination of requirements that lawmakers recuse themselves of decisions which may directly affect their wealth, prohibit them from using their office for personal gain, and by requiring the disclosure of the sources of outside income in order to ensure that the public – and regulatory agencies – can monitor lawmakers’ behavior.

Karen DeWitt

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will move to prohibit fracking in the state, citing unresolved health issues and dubious economic benefits of the widely used gas-drilling technique.

Environmental Commissioner Joe Martens said Wednesday that he is recommending a ban. Cuomo says he is deferring to Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker in making the decision.

Zucker and Martens on Wednesday summarized the findings of their environmental and health reviews. They concluded that shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing carried unacceptable risks that haven't been sufficiently studied.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with Bob Weible, New York State Historian and Chief Curator for the New York State Museum, and learn about New York History Month.

Blair Horner: A Voters Guide For Election Day 2014

Oct 27, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 is Election Day. On this year’s ballot, in addition to the candidates who are running for office, New Yorkers have the opportunity to vote on two proposed changes to the New York State Constitution and a bond act.

Stephen Gottlieb: A View Of The Ballot

Sep 9, 2014

I got on line the other night to see what to expect at the voting booth today. We have all been hearing about the primary races for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, although polls tell us that lots of people haven’t heard of Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, or if they’ve heard the names don’t know why. That’s clearly not true of WAMC listeners. But what else is on the ballot? Actually plenty.

Lawmakers are set to wrap up the scheduled end of the 2014 legislative session. Typically, this week is “show time” for lawmakers–hundreds of bills are likely to be approved, many more will fail.

Steve Greenberg discusses Siena College's poll results for the New York State gubernatorial race. Results show Governor Cuomo with a lead over Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Blair Horner: The End Of The Legislative Session

Jun 9, 2014

With two weeks to go until the scheduled end of the 2014 legislative session, how’s it looking? Despite the fact that the governor and state lawmakers will face the voters this November, increasingly the session looks like it will end with a whimper, not a bang.

There are even rumors that lawmakers will throw in the towel and just wrap things up this week instead of next week as scheduled.

Even though there has been a lot of public debate on important issues, it appears that lawmakers will hit the campaign trail without resolving them. 

Blair Horner: Voting In New York

Apr 28, 2014

The US Census published a report on voting in America last week that was the usual – the nation’s voters don’t go to the polls as often as they should and in some parts of the country, like New York, and for some age groups – mainly young voters – the turnout has been dreadful.

    Craft beer is here to stay – and as with any business or art, the creation and consumption has an impact beyond what you might initially expect.

Here to tell us more are Paul Leone, Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association, Gregg Stacy from Browns Brewing in Troy, NY and John Carr from Adirondack Brewery in Lake George, NY.

The Craft New York Beer Fest is Saturday, March 22nd from 5-8PM at the Desmond Hotel in Albany.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York is offering lifetime licenses to hunt, fish and visit state parks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Wednesday that he hopes a portion of the 2 million people who buy annual hunting licenses, fishing licenses and park permits in New York will make the switch. Lifetime hunting licenses cost $535, lifetime fishing licenses $460 and lifetime Empire Passport park permits cost $750.

As an incentive, lifetime license holders will be able to receive for free scenic-themed license plates playing off the "I Love NY" theme that promote fishing, hunting or parks.